One of the more recent names to really make waves in the
Nicholas: I am a big, fat man with a love of all things metal and dorky. A lifetime resident of Utah County. Never finished college. I like indoor activities that keep me away from the baleful stare of the hated yellow sun, it's gaze like the judgment of a million bitter nuns pointing with a million admonitory fingers. I have an ungrateful, elderly tabby cat, and two Olde English bulldogs that I use as adorable pillows, and it's comforting and fun until their digestive systems spark into
Gavin: What first got you interested in stand-up comedy, and who were some of your favorite comedians growing up?
Nicholas: I blame my mother for this. She got me interested in stand-up by introducing me to Bill Cosby: Himself, when I was in grade school. I loved it. Still love it. Got me hooked. My mom enjoyed comedy in all it's various forms. I remember watching a lot of Nick At Nite with her growing up, getting exposed to a lot of her favorite comedic performers like Abbot & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Red Skelton, the Smother's Brothers, Mary Tyler Moore, Don Knotts, Flip Wilson, Robin Williams, the list goes on and on. And once we got cable service into the home, I started seeking it out on my own and discovered An Evening At the Improv on A&E. I remember also enjoying the work of Brian Reagan, Sinbad, Richard Jeni, Jerry Seinfeld and I'm sure there were others.
Gavin: What officially brought on the decision for you to attempt it as a career?
Nicholas: While I enjoyed comedy, it was never something I wanted to do growing up, even though I had a lot of extended family members that urged me to pursue it because they thought I was really funny. Away from friends and family, I only used humor as a defense mechanism because I was the weird, fat kid and was relentlessly picked on and ridiculed. I learned that by tearing myself to pieces verbally and making the other kids laugh about it, ensured, for the most part, that I would be left alone about my weight. A tactic I did not employ until high school, unfortunately. When I hit junior high, I had decided I wanted to play bass in a metal band or maybe draw comic books. I got a bass during my junior year of high school for Christmas and my parents signed me up for lessons. My last band project crashed and burned in early 2008 and I was burned out on it. I'd spent a lot of resources on gear, equipment, CD pressings, gas, etc, with nothing to show for it. Life went on and I increasingly got more and more depressed and lost. Caregiving is exhausting and stressful and without music to pour myself into, I didn't have an outlet or escape.
Nicholas: After a dear friend of mine opted to shuffle off this mortal coil in 2009 I realized I was headed in the same direction and that I needed to find a way to express myself creatively and let off some steam, find some direction. So, I opted for comedy. For the first time in my
Gavin: How was it for you breaking into the local lineups and getting gigs?
Nicholas: It started
Gavin: When you first started out, what were some of the lessons you learned about performing?
Nicholas: Commit to your material, makes it easier to sell to the audience. Try not to wander all over the stage, it's distracting. Talk clearly into the microphone. Don't rush through your material and allow pauses for the audience to laugh, if you're lucky enough to get laughs. Don't try and talk over the mirth. Don't ask the audience how they are doing if you're not the first person to perform. When you get the light, really do sincerely wrap it up and get the hell off of the stage. Always be on time and it never hurts to be a little early.
Gavin: What's it like for you personally coming up with material and decided what works and doesn't?
Nicholas: Currently, I pull a lot of my material from my life. I find it very cathartic. I usually get my inspiration either in the shower or on the toilet and I honestly don't know why. Sometimes when I'm driving around doing errands I'll have some sort of epiphany or idea that I think might be interesting to explore. It usually lives in my head for a few days and then I'll start writing it out in a moleskin.
Nicholas: It wasn't productive, and so I started to allow myself the freedom to create on stage, but using my paper with bullet points as a loose guide to keep me on track. It's a method that I have found to be very advantageous, so I'm going to keep doing that. I'm also happy to consider any constructive criticism that is presented to me from other comics. There have been nights when I thought the material was garbage and someone would be like, "No, it's a good start, but you should try the following," and I really appreciate that. I'm my own worst critic, I typically hate everything I write and so I have benefited from outside opinions when they've been offered. Also listening back to the recordings and hearing a bunch of people
Gavin: How is it for you interacting with other local comedians, both as friends and competitors?
Nicholas: I love it. I have so much fun hanging out with the local comedians. They have been so supportive of me and have reached out with open arms and pulled me into the fold. It's rather touching, really. I consider the majority of them to be friends or at the very least, amicable colleagues. I don't look at any of them as competitors, I look at them as allies. I try very hard to support the local shows by promoting them and attending as many as I am able to, usually alone, but sometimes I can get someone to go with me. I'm a fan and I sincerely enjoy seeing the shows and laughing along with everyone else in the audience.
Gavin: What has it been like for you coming up through the underground circuit into the somewhat independent comedy hubs and making a name for yourself?
Nicholas: Bewildering. I have really blown up this year (for me) and I don't know
Gavin: A lot of your comedy seems to aim more to offend while getting a laugh, have you found it easier or harder to play bigger rooms in Utah with your set?
Nicholas: I write to amuse myself. It's one of the few things I'm really selfish about. Comedy is for me. I develop material that I find interesting or compelling on some level and if I find it works consistently, I'll continue to edit it and polish it. I don't write material with the intention of offending people. I think writing comedy for the strict purpose of offending people is a boring and lazy endeavor. I realize that I sometimes offend people and that they just aren't going to like what I do, and I'm fine with that. I'm not going to waste my time trying to cajole and appease audiences. It's pointless. Personally, I like to bring an audience along for the ride. See if they'll go on a weird, dark, and at times, filthy journey with me. It's a fun challenge, and I don't always succeed. For instance, my newer bit, Mean Spirited Porn, is me ranting about, primarily, how rough and cruel I find most contemporary straight
Nicholas: I decided to try it out at a comedy competition back in February at 5 Monkeys that Elias "Lefty" Caress hosted. I got booed and heckled. People were not on board with it at all. It pissed me off and I finished every second of my time to spite them. I continued to work on the piece, expanding it and finally this May, I performed the retooled version at the Sandy Station for the show Christopher Stephenson hosts, and it did very well. I did it again at the It's Always Funny In SLC Comedy Showcase at Keys On Main, which had 170 people in attendance and again, I was very successful. Turned out to be the best show I've ever had the opportunity to do and it was my first really big crowd. I expected to fail because that show had such a diverse group of comedians on it and I wasn't positive how the people in attendance were going to take my set. Glad they liked it. But I'm positive that material still would have bombed at that comedy competition, regardless of how refined and practiced it was. They weren't my crowd.
Gavin: Going local for a bit, what's your take on the stand-up scene, both good and bad?
Nicholas: It has really grown and spread in the two years I've been doing comedy. We have a lot of great talent out there and I am excited to see so many stages being made available for comedy. It seems like with the death of Comedy Roadkill at The Complex, a lot of new shows and open mics have popped up. It certainly was the impetus for me to try and get a show going down in Utah County. I am really looking forward to the SLC Comedy Carnivale that Andrew Jensen and Christopher Stephenson run. The bad? I don't know. Pointless rivalries and needless drama? Eh. It's there in every scene in every city. I've spoken with other comics and one of the things that get's brought up a lot is the fact that we'd like to see a new comedy club emerge. Shake things up a bit. Cause some competition.
Gavin: Aside yourself, who are some of your favorites you like to check out around town?
Nicholas: Helluva lot of talent, I'll never be able to name them all, but I'll start with my favorite, Levi Rounds. I discovered him on YouTube when I was researching comedy. Have enjoyed him thoroughly ever since. There's also Jason Harvey, Toysoup, Christopher Stephenson, Jay Whittaker, 'Tashia Mower, Andy Gold, Abi Harrison, Jackson Banks, Christian Pieper, Melissa Merlot, Patrick Ramirez, Bemo, and a bunch more. Shout outs to Jordon Mazziotti, Rach Jensen and Keane Clark, cats who started out around when I did and it's fun seeing us all slowly grow and develop. That kinda sounded like puberty talk. Soon our voices will begin to change and we'll find hair in strange and wondrous places. Strong and powerful feelings will stir in our loins. I'll stop now.
Gavin: What are your thoughts on the clubs that provide comedians a forum to perform, and the work they do to help bring in audiences?
Nicholas: I'm glad that they are out there.
Gavin: Whats your opinion of national stand-up comedians coming through town and what that does for the local scene?
Nicholas: Well, I'm always happy to have a comedian I
Gavin: What advice do you have for people looking to getting into standup comedy?
Nicholas: Let me preface this by saying that I'm a rank amateur and you should take everything I say with a block of salt.
Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?
Nicholas: Continuing to slave away at comedy. And thanks to Christopher Stephenson and Doug Evans, I'll be the host of the Split Sides Comedy Open Mic at the Sandy Station, starting Saturday, June 7 at 7 p.m., every Saturday after that. Free. That will provide me with invaluable experience. I'm excited for that. I'm going to submit an entry for the SLC Comedy Carnivale. And finally, I'm going to try and keep building my little, monthly comedy shows in Provo.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
Nicholas: Check out my monthly comedy show, Dungeons & Comedy at the Muse Music Cafe on Thursday, June 26. Christopher Stephenson hosts a comedy show the first Friday of every month at the Sandy Station. Jason Harvey does Comedy and Other Opinions every third Thursday of every month at 5 Monkeys. And check out Fermented Comedy at The Barrel Room (basement of Club Elevate), every first Wednesday, Hosted by Levi Rounds and Michael Eccleston.